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Future Students

English Language Proficiency Exam for PhD Admissions

Applicants who are non-native English speakers are required to demonstrate English language proficiency. If an exam score is required, Human Centered Design & Engineering only accepts the following exams. Applicants must meet the required minimum scores listed below:

  • 106 on TOEFLiBT (including 26 Speaking sub-score)
  • 623 on TOEFLPBT
  • 263 on TOEFLCBT
  • 7.5 on IELTS (including 7 Speaking sub-score)
  • 125 on Duolingo (Approved for AUT 2023)*
  • Test scores must have been obtained within the last two years. This exam requirement is waived if the applicant holds a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom. TOEFL scores can be no more than two years old; this is a UW Graduate Admissions rule and is not flexible.
  • It may take several weeks for TOEFL scores to show as being "received" by the University of Washington. After applying, periodically log-in to your application profile to check the status of the scores.
  • The TOEFL institutional code is 4854. If a department code is required, use 99. Applicants using IELTS test scores must submit official scores electronically via the IELTS system (E-TRF), using the University of Washington’s organization ID 365. An offer of admission cannot be extended prior to the receipt of official scores.

*For the Autumn 2023 application cycles, the UW Graduate School is also temporarily accepting the Duolingo English Test to assist international students with remote testing options. A minimum score of 125 is required. For more information, please visit

Pilot program for Autumn 2023 admission cycle (applications due in 2022): Applicants with TOEFL iBT, IELTS, or Duolingo score greater than or equal to 92, 7.0, or 120, respectively, but below the above thresholds, may apply. As part of the application evaluation process, these applicants will be required to complete an an additional appeal interview, which they must pass to be admitted. For that interview, applicants will need to have a good quality internet connection and microphone.

For specific questions about test scores, please visit the HCDE Admissions FAQs.

Additional Conditions for Teaching Assistant (TA) Employment:
International students should familiarize themselves with the Graduate School’s English requirements and teaching policies. HCDE PhD graduate students who are not native speakers of English must meet the criteria in Memo 15: Conditions of Appointment for TAs who are not Native Speakers of English to receive an employment offer as a TA. Memo 15 includes additional requirements beyond English language proficiency for admission to the HCDE PhD degree.